According to the rice association, there are about 40,000 varieties of rice cultivated around the world. Rice has by far dominated the food chain in the world with more than 3.5 billion people depending on rice for 20% of daily calories. It is the staple food for half of the earth’s human population, and yet many people have been preparing it wrong.
In the first place why in the world should rice be hard to cook? And how can one cook it wrong? Cooking parboiled rice is a very easy task, and the obtainable negative results are little. Two principles can make or break your rice when misused; simply water ratio and salt.
How would you like to know of some of the best techniques used by chefs worldwide when cooking parboiled rice? In this article, you’ll learn all about parboiled rice and the best ways of preparing it.
What is Parboiled Rice?
First of to make things clear parboiled rice is not a variety of rice. Almost every type of rice out there can be turned into parboiled rice. Right, I used the word turning instead of making. Parboiled rice is rice that has undergone a different method of processing that the usual type of rice. The difference is all in the process of rice processing
Parboiled rice is rice that has experienced boiling in the early stages of processing before the husk is removed. There are three actions which occur in making parboiled rice soaking, steaming, and drying.
These processes of making parboiled rice are what distinguish it from other types of rice. On the other hand, as these processes take place changes occur in the chemical content of the rice that affects the nutrition of the rice when cooked.
Why Is Parboiled Rice Healthy?
Before we go into this discussion, two things matter when it comes to nutrition in rice. These two elements are the variety of rice and the method of processing the rice.
In this case, the type of rice is not as important as the method of processing used. This is because we can’t change a particular variety of rice into another variety, but instead, we have the freedom to choose a specific method of processing the rice.
When it comes to the most nutritious rice to eat it is a war between parboiled rice and brown rice. Rice can lose about 70% of its total vitamins and minerals during processing. And because of the processes involved in making parboiled rice, it turns out to be more nutritious than white rice and makes the rice easier to process. The partial boiling of the rice is what makes it easier to handle by hand.
Most of the major nutrients lost in rice during processing are found in the hull. And thus, how the hull gets treated is very important when processing the rice. Unlike in the case of white rice where the hull is immediately removed; the hull undergoes steaming first in the process of making parboiled rice before it is removed.
The method of partially boiling the rice drives away nutrients from the hull such as thiamin into the endosperm of the rice. I am soaking the rice before boiling plays an essential role in releasing the nutrients. And how does this all happen?
When the rice is soaked in cold water, it loses its air, and the nutrients in the hull become soluble. The nutrients then leach out of the hull because of the water flooding the cells of the rice. To make sure that the leached nutrients go into the rice and not flood in water, steaming is then carried out.
The steaming builds air pressure that makes sure the nutrients leached diffuse into the rice kernel. After the rice is partially steamed to retain the nutrients, then cooling occurs.
The cooling helps the particles to form an even tighter structure once again. This result in the formation of improved type 3-resistant starch found to be of good health benefit. At the very end, parboiled rice is considered to be 80% as nutritious as the brown rice.
The Common Methods to Cook Parboiled Rice
Cooking is an essential aspect when it comes to consuming food. Actions are taken a right from the time the rice is harvested up till the time the rice gets consumed matter. If you end up cooking the parboiled rice wrongly, you might as well lose all of its values of nutrition and texture.
A. Preparing Parboiled Rice Using a Rice Cooker
Some argue that as the quantity of rice increases the amount of water should also increase according to the ratio of rice to water. Now, this may depend on the type of rice you are using. A particular variety of rice may consume more water than other types of rice.
If you’re using a rice cooker, you can check the manual of the rice cooker to see the recommended water to rice ratios and times. Check if the type of rice you are using is supported to be rinsed before cooking.
The regular rice to water ratio here is 1 to 2 meaning one cup of rice (240mL) equals two cups of water (470mL). Don’t forget to add salt before adding the rice. Select the white rice cooking setting if it’s available on the type of cooker you’re using. Wait for about 20 minutes and about 30 minutes for south Indian style parboiled rice. When the rice is cooked leave it for about 10-15 minutes to rest in the cooker and then serve.
B. Cooking Parboiled Rice on the Stove
This is one of the most popularly used methods of preparing parboiled rice. Before you start, it is recommended to soak the rice in water for about 20 minutes. Soaking the rice reduces the time of cooking and adds more flavor at the end of the cooking process.
Add to cups of water for one cup of rice into the pot, add a pinch of salt and bring the water to a 100 degrees Celsius. Once the water is boiling, you can add your rice immediately but don’t forget to drain the water if you’ve soaked the rice. Stir the rice around the pot to ensure equal distribution and leave it for about 25-30 minutes. When it’s done let it rest for about five minutes and mix it up with a fork.
C. Using a Microwave
The first thing to ensure when using a microwave is to make sure that you use a microwave-safe container. In this method of preparing rice, everything should be added into the container at once and then put in the microwave right after. Add two cups of water to one cup of rice, add a pinch of salt.
When using a microwave, you are expected to use the highest heat of the microwave for the first 5 minutes and then check if the water has come to a boil. In those five minutes, you don’t have to cover the container with a lid until later in the process. After the first five minutes have exhausted cover the container and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Check if the rice is cooked and if it is not you can microwave it for a more extended period. Once it is done fluff the rice with a fork and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
This is how you prepare parboiled rice. You should have this at the back of your mind; evaporation is the critical factor to cooking rice, and in some instances, less water is needed.